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Among Others

Average Rating 3.5
( 62 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Wonderfully done.

I love so much about this book.

I love that it's character-driven rather than plot-driven. Nothing particularly happens in this novel -- a girl goes to boarding school, is shunned, writes and reads a lot, and eventually finds a few friends; the "reckoning that could ...
I love so much about this book.

I love that it's character-driven rather than plot-driven. Nothing particularly happens in this novel -- a girl goes to boarding school, is shunned, writes and reads a lot, and eventually finds a few friends; the "reckoning that could no longer be put off" takes place within the confines of the last few pages, and feels. . . on the whole, slightly unnecessary. Anyone who wants action should look elsewhere. This book takes place almost entirely within the confines of Mori's head, and I love that. I love that it's about grieving, and that it's about identity, and that it's about making the best of your seriously messed up family.

I love that it's about books, and that Mori engages with books, has forceful opinions about them that the reader is clearly allowed to disagree with. I haven't actually read most of the books Mori talks about (somehow I've read lots of stuff from the 60s and from the 80s on, but precious little from the 70s) but my background knowledge of the authors was enough that I didn't feel like I missed anything. Probably the only work any reader has to be familiar with is Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, because Mori uses the terms "karass" and "granfalloon" a lot before she explains them to an outsider -- but even those terms are fairly clear from the context.

I love the way the magic works. . . no flashes or puffs of smoke to let you know something has happened, just a sudden string of coincidences (going back long before you cast your spell) leading to the outcome you wanted. It's the sort of magic I think makes sense in a contemporary setting with our history, and it's the sort of magic I wish there was more of in fantasy, because it seems so much more magical than the magic-by-numbers currently popular. And yes, it IS magic: Mori thinks so, and the author says so, so I see no reason to question that fact.

But somehow. . . I did not quite love this book. Maybe it's because I wasn't particularly alienated as a teenager. Maybe it's because I wanted just a little bit more. . . magic, in Mori's voice, to carry through some of the boarding school drama. Or maybe this is one of those books that will hit me harder the further I get from it -- it certainly has that potential. I expected to love this book, and maybe that's why I didn't; very little can live up to the level of expectation produced by the knowledge that there's a new book by a favorite author that's getting tons of praise from other favorite authors. Whatever the case. . . I will absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes the stuff I laid out above. It's absolutely going on my keeper shelf, and I'm glad I bought it in hardcover. But it isn't quite a book that immediately carved out a place in my soul.

posted by PhoenixFalls on January 29, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Giving up.

I thought this was going to be a great read. Quiet suspense, maybe? A whole paragraph about a bus? Really? All these book names became very tiresome. I realize the plot is supposed to be about this girl, her losses, struggles, love of SF and fairies, but wow. "The Siste...
I thought this was going to be a great read. Quiet suspense, maybe? A whole paragraph about a bus? Really? All these book names became very tiresome. I realize the plot is supposed to be about this girl, her losses, struggles, love of SF and fairies, but wow. "The Sisters Grimm" was more exciting. Half way thru and putting it down to read something else. Maybe just skip to the end to get it over with. Something I NEVER do, by the way.

posted by 101010mdy on January 13, 2012

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